Business and hiring in Japan faced drastic change due to Covid-19. The economy has been severely affected and some industries are struggling to keep their heads above water. Nevertheless, there are some positive trends for the companies in Japan to recover and find new opportunities under this circumstance. 

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The recent trend of the business in Japan

According to the latest data published by the Ministry of Finance, the sales figures of the January-March 2020 for all the industries (excluding finance and insurance) have declined by 7.5% year-on-year to ¥344.5789 trillion.  

Particularly, F&B and Hospitality industries took the hardest hit of -13.3% while the retail industry also marked -13.3%, which is expected to be worse in Q2 of 2020. However, many of the businesses were closed from March to May have resumed their businesses in June after the state of emergency was lifted, recovering 70% of operating capacity before the onset of the COVID-19 calamity in March.  

The industries related to IT, life-science and medical have been active despite the calamity. For instance, for Q1 in 2020, when the effect of COVID-19 set in, the capital investment such as for more adoption of IT has increased by 0.1% (at least, not a negative growth) year-on-year and it is expected to rise in Q2 and Q3. Hence, the demand for talents in those sectors is still on the rise.

The recent trend of the hiring in Japan

Under this circumstance, IT professional skills and language skills are more valued among both Japanese and foreign companies in Japan. In Japan, many young talents are working as system engineers(SE) or system consultants. They are inclined to be seconded to the other companies from their own IT companies for which they are working, and in many cases, their clients are foreign companies in Japan. Many system engineers are bilinguals and can speak both Japanese and English. These bilinguals are in demand for foreign companies. From June 2020, retail and hospitality industries have also started to think about hiring the global talents in anticipation of the business resumption in the future. Hence, more global talents are looking for job opportunities who value their competency in bilingual skills.

The prospect of the business and hiring in Japan

The globalization indeed contributes to the spread of the virus as the flow of people increases. However, globalization does enable fast communication and efficient distribution. The demand for global talents continues for various industries such as IT, life-science and medical. 

Moreover, starting from August 5th, Japan commences the procedure to allow the return of the foreign nationalities who are eligible for residency   status. It is requested for these foreigners to attain the documents of the re-entry permit and certificate of health acquired within 72 hours before departure as well as 14-day isolation after arrival. Despite this rigid screening, no less than 90,000 business persons or students can come back to Japan. This can be an opportunity for companies to hire new talents. Although it is hard to foresee the future situation right now, the economic policy has been moving toward the normalization. Hence, companies should start strategizing to plan on how to regain back the losses by taking on new opportunities available in the market.

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